Saturday, December 31, 2011

Standing Together

Over Hanukkah break from Pardes, I had the opportunity to help deliver some much needed winter thermal shirts and gloves to soldiers in the south on the border of Sinai. I went with an organization called Standing Together ( which buys and delivers items to soldiers in the IDF that the government can't afford.  They also take sweets, like sufganiot, candy, soda, popcorn, bourekas, and in the summer time, ice cream.  

It was really an incredible experience and I hope to do it again soon! These soldiers are so grateful for everything, even a piece of gum! It was a great mitzvah and a great way to show my appreciate to all that they give to my country. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The best Hanukkah songs are in Yiddush!

"Living in Israel and being Jewish is a struggle."

When I made aliyah a year ago, I knew that I was doing so on the grounds that it would be challenging, not only financially or emotionally, but because Israel is difficult. There is nothing easy about Israel, and maybe that is where her true beauty comes from.

Pardes set up a trip for our community to Hebron. Having been to Hebron two years ago, the announcement of the trip already made me a little uneasy as images sprang into my memory. The early deserted streets, Palestinains walking with their heads down hoping not to make eye contact, settlers strolling with AK47s over their shoulders. Hebron is not an easy city to visit. I wouldn't say that it is dangerous, many of our IDF soldiers are keeping it's streets quiet and safe, but this city is existing as a polar opposite to what I wish for Israel in terms of peace. I want to live in Israel peacefully with my neighbors, neighbors of all religions. And as Eve (last name) one of our speakers stated, peace is only real when two sides are living together. Peace is not when one side is removed. 

 This visit to Hebron was different, we started with a tour of Tel Hebron (the excavations of the biblical city) followed by a tour of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, (which I loved!), we listened to a representative from Breaking the Silence, an organization designed to change the way that soldiers interact with residences in Hebron. Afterwards we listened to two different settlers living in Hebron about their reasons for living their and their hopes for the future. At the end of the day we talked to a Palestinian human rights activist who grew up and is now living in Hebron. Did you just ask yourself, "How long were these students in Hebron?" Well, you're right, it was a long intense day. But I found myself very grateful for the number of views that were presented to me.

 My struggle with Israel was not lessened after my second visit to Hebron, but I did find myself thinking that I made the right decision to live in a country that I love. In a country that I know will be here for me and my children in the future, a country that is always changing and evolving and learning to live peacefully. I know that there are things in Israel that I am not proud of, but there are things in the US that I am not proud of either. And despite these things, I am a proud citizen and know that I have to be here to help make the country better and even more beautiful than when I arrived.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

An AMAZING Pardes Day!!

This song was written and performed by Sam Rotenberg, a fellow student and friend, at Pardes! We were having a party in Gemera (Talmud) to celebrate finishing a long, complex, and difficult section. Sam wrote this song in honor of "the end". The Gemera we're learning is about Lost Objects, so in the song you'll hear about losing and finding things.  Obviously, if you have studied this before it's more entertaining, but it's still awesome that something so Rabbinic, can become so beautiful. Enjoy!

The second AMAZING thing to happen today was the start of recruitment for Pardes!! Evan and Kalie (another two incredible students, friends, and classmates) did an intro skit to get everyone (the student body and faculty) excited about recruitment. The skit was hilarious, thoughtful, wonderful!!
Everyday at Pardes is better and better! Studying at Pardes was by far one of the best choices I have made in my life! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This is my serious mustache face! Today is the last day of MOVEMBER and thus, the last mustache picture!! If you have enjoyed them and want to help support men's health! Please donate now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the incredible Pardes mustache growing team! They are SO amazing, so far they have raised over $3,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

You can still be a part of this cause!! Donate here:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Second to last day of MOVEMBER!!

Second to last day of Movember!! Don’t miss out helping and being a part of this amazing event!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A very thankful update!

I know you were all hoping to see a mustache picture, but here is one clean shaven picture! Donations at school for mustaches are going well and I am proud of the money we have raised as a team. This last week we will need to make a pretty big push to finish strong! 
Tonight I am refereeing another football game, and I am pretty sure it's not going to rain, so I am really excited about that! Yesterday I made chicken noodle soup for me and Roi (he is coming to see the game and then staying for the weekend) and today I made pumpkin pie (bought vanilla ice cream) and also made my first challah in Israel! I haven't eaten any of it yet, but everything looks and smells delicious!! The house smelled GREAT today! I am so grateful to be able to share these things with Roi...and I am grateful to have the means to have such nice things surrounding me.  I am grateful that I am studying at an incredible institution that is not only expanding my mind, but also my heart.  I finally feel like I am studying something that is making me a better person, not just a means to an end. 

And most importantly, I am grateful for my family. These are the days that living for from home is nearly torture. Not that I necessarily mess the food (although it's yummy) but I miss being with the whole family and then when everyone leaves, my mom and sister and I sit down with all the leftover desserts (even though we swore an hour before we could never eat another bite) and retell the funny stories of the day and laugh about all the crazy things that happened.  These are by far the best times and these are things that can't be replaced  by someone else. 

I hope you are all having a wonderful meal of abundance and surrounded by people who's love is overflowing. Happy Thanksgiving!! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

IFL Mustache!

For those of you that don’t know. I am a referee for the IFL (Israeli Football League) and last night was the season opener at Kraft Family Stadium! It was great and I think the teams were really intimated with my mustache!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Super cute mustache! It's already more than half way through Movember!!! Please donate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, I think this mustache is awesome! Just sayin'

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pardes Mustaches!

First week: 

Second week! 

More people and more mustaches!! Way to go Pardes!! We are raising money for Movember!! Donate to our incredible team here: 

Mustache Shekel Wars!!

Hey mustache lovers!!!! 
We are starting shekel wars (originally penny wars) at Pardes! Put your agarot in the containers on the cabinet in the hallway of your learning level.
All-new Shekel Wars jars next to Pardes HappyGrams box

The containers say:
  •  רמת א Level alef
  • רמת ב Level bet
  • רמת ג Level gimmel
  • רמת ד Level dalet
  • רמת ה Level hey
  • כולל Kolel
If you are a “split” learner, please go with the level of your 3-a-week class.
You should put all the shekel coins and agarot in your level – whoever has the most shekels at the end of the month will win!!! But there is one catch! If you put shekel bills (paper shekels) into a different level, it will be counted as negative!! For example, say level alef is kicking butt and they have SO many shekels, so someone in level hey says, what are we going to do about this?? We can put a 20 shekel bill in level alef and it will deduct 20 shekels off of their score. 
What can a level win, you ask?? Well, first and formost, pride in your level and school for raising so much money for men’s health and for supporing Movember. Secondly, on Thursday December 1st, your class will get freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (and maybe milk)!
If you have any questions, please see someone with a mustache…or me!
Love, Andrea Donate here if you don't go to Pardes!! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Soul patch!

I know you're digging the soul patch! So have a soul and dig a dollar deep into your wallet and donate!! All the healthy men in your life will thank you!! And so will I!! =)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In case you were going through mustache withdrawal Please donate a $1 (or more) to help support research from prostate cancer and to help men's health!!! I know that you're all loving these mustache photos, so just $1!! Read about where your money will go... 

Thanks in advance!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shabbat mustache!

Roi joined me today for men's health awareness!!! I hope you like our mustaches!!! Shabbat shalom...and after Shabbat donate here!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mustache 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think this one is sexy!
 That's why I'm winking!! Donate, donate, donate!! =) Thank you!!!!!!!! 

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Hole in my heart...

I just received this article about bagel shops in Chicago (Kaufmans, our favorite, taking the number one stop) from my mother in the mail yesterday. She is always sending me little things, articles, stickers, pictures, whatever she can to let me know she is thinking of me. But even though she sent me this because it was a cute article about a place to love to visit together. The true message of what she is saying every time she sends me something was way too obvious this time. I love living and studying in Israel...but I know it's not easy for my family and especially my mom, we are best friends, and I know it's not easy for them (my family) to always be so supportive of me when I go away because I know it is a truly painful thing for them that I don't live close to home.  And I hope they know that I appreciate their support and love even when it is such a hard thing for them to do. I love you and I can't wait to see you in March! 

My Movember

I think I am the only girl at my school doing Movember to help raise money and awareness for men's health. But I think it's so important for society, I think men's health is something that people over look, especially cancer in men. And let's face it, there are a lot of important men in my life who's health I really care about! So here is my mustache, check back everyday to see a new mustache picture until the end of MOVEMBER! Donate here: 

Friday, November 04, 2011

Shabbat shalom! שבת שלום!!!

My table is ready! Tomorrow for lunch we're having a vegan Shabbat at my house! I made vegan chili. quinoa (a grain) with pomegranate and apple, and everyone else is bringing the other things! It'll be lovely. =)

I have a great story from the week for Shabbat! I was in my Humash class and we were learning the gemertria, and my teacher told us to add the number of the letters of our name..Andrea אנדריאה is 270...if you write 270 in the simplest form it is רע which is "bad" in Hebrew! I was SO sad! My name means bad?!?! (In Hebrew they actually write 270 as ער instead so no word can mean bad.) I was really upset and my teacher was like, really? What's your Hebrew name? And I said דורית Dorit, and he said, that's not 270..that's 620 and 620 is a great number in Hebrew, and I almost yelled, "and 620 is my birthday!!!!!!!!" (June 20th) and he said WOW!! gemertria in action!! (Because gemertria is suppose to be somewhat mystic.) 620 is also significant in Judaism because there are 613 commandments given in the Torah and seven rabbinic commandments instituted later for a total of 620!! Needless to say, I felt pretty awesome! 

Shabbat shalom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Movember is a changing the face of men's health! Men all over the US and world are growing mustaches in order to raise money to help fight prostate cancer!! You can read all about it at their website here

Pardes has a team led by Evan Remer, the guy in the picture with the big handle bar mustache. He has gotten other students and faculty to join him in raising awareness for this cause! 

The link to donate to the Pardes team is here

Check back here in two weeks and then again at the end of the month to see picture updates of these fine men's progress!! 

I also joined the Pardes team despite my lack of mustache, you can donate directly under my name if you click here!! =) Thanks in advance! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alef bet I learned the alef bet! Although I should have learned it a long long time ago, and despite that I "speak" Hebrew...I had never learned the order of the letters. Today, I thought, enough, it's time. And Roi helped me learn the letters in order. It's awesome! Have you ever felt like there is something that you really should know, but you should have learned it when you were so young, that you just never learned it on your own...that's how I felt about the alef bet. Today is a big day! I am very proud of myself =)

Also, for a class, I have to learn gematria which is assigning numeric value to Hebrew letters, and it's very difficult to learn if I don't know the alef bet. I will also have to learn the Hebrew months soon, something else I have never learned!   

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Israeli Driving License!

Although I passed the driving test in June, I just received my license in the mail yesterday!! I feel like this is a great achievement in becoming "Israeli" and I feel like I had to work harder for this than just becoming an Israeli citizen!! It was worth the wait!! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Expedition America

I was recently told that an educational program that I hold very near my heart has been canceled. Expedition America (or EA) was a program at Highland High School in Indiana, that took high school students on a summer trip to hike in the mountains (somewhere in the US) for 3 and then spent the next 5 or 6 days visiting historical sites.  I was a chaperon with the founder, Robert Blumenthal, for two years. I had also participated in the same program, but of a different name, Trail Bound, when I was a student at Chesterton High School.

I had originally signed up because I loved history, but I quickly came to love the challenge of backpacking as well.  I also loved the camaraderie of being with my classmates or later, the students. It was/is an incredible form of learning and bounds that the trail/hiking can create between people is like no other. I would not be the person I am today without these experiences in my life.

Rob sent out a letter to EA alumni announce the cancellation and in the letter he beautifully wrote, "I want you to remember always the challenges you overcame and trials you endured along the trail. Always remember that the very best things in life are earned and are never handed to you or are easy. You earned a place on EA by being the very best among your class at HHS; you endured the trail because you fought for every footstep and succeeded there because each of you possesses the tenacity to keep pushing when so many of your peers never would have had the temerity to lace up their boots. I know that you will face hardships in the years to come, but I have also seen every one of you struggle and overcome very surmounting odds. Do not forget this early success. The best is still to come."

EA 2009 - Vermont - The Green Mountains 

Me, of course, in the Green Mountains

Rob and me!! Whale watching off the coast of Boston

I definitely could not have said it better. Rob is truly a role model to me and I know he will only go on to do even bigger and better things, although it is hard to imagine something better than EA.  Thanks Rob, it was a blast. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shabbat Halakha

Today in Halakha (Jewish law) class, we started learning the laws of keeping Shabbat.  There are "honor" כבוד laws, about preparing oneself for Shabbat and there are "pleasure" עונג laws about preparing your surroundings. I never knew there were actual laws written that you should have a nice meal, and wash yourself, clean the house, and wear nice clothes.  I just thought it was traditions, but the rabbis actually wrote that we are suppose to do that. All in preparation for Shabbat.  I think last year I would have thought these things were silly, but now that I am semi-keeping Shabbat, I think these things are really important. After I clean the whole house, to shopping, prepare a beautiful meal, set the table with the "nice" dishes, get really pretty, and wear a cute dress...I really want the time to be special. I really do feel like it's a spiritual time that I'm not worrying, that I'm not thinking about homework, I'm not worried about politics. It's a time for friends and family, a time to pray, and a time to be grateful.

Also, I liked that the rabbis really do acknowledge that it takes effort to prepare for Shabbat, it really is a task to get ready for something so special, but because we invest that time and make it nice and even "holy"...the time of Shabbat is that much more meaningful. So come Thursday and Friday when I'm cleaning and getting ready, I will be that much more appreciative when Shabbat actually arrives. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Welcome Home Gilad

Today is an amazing day for Israel and Israelis. Gilad Shalit who was was imprisoned in Gaza by Hamas for over five years, 1,941 days, was freed this morning after long negotiations in a prisoner exchange. 1,027 prisoners were released from Israel for Gilad's return.

These posters were hung all over Jerusalem says "How good is your coming home." 

Gilad hugging his father. 

Ynet article about Gilad

Many people are upset about the exchange, saying how could Israel release these murders for one life. But as a sister, daughter, and hopefully one day a mother, I believe Israel did the right thing. I am really proud to be an Israeli today. A good friend and rabbi said this, "Israel is like no another country. People may say that because we value life so much and care about each other so much -it is our greatest weakness, but it is actually our greatest strength." I am happy to live in a country and be a citizen of a country that so greatly values life and sticks to its word. I really understand people's concerns with releasing so many terrorists, but we don't know what the future will bring. And so today we must rejoice that Israel saved a life and reunited a family. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sukkot vacation!

We have quite a few days off for Sukkot and many students are traveling. I went to Roi's home to celebrate our two year anniversary together. We went to Rehovot to a really great Asian restaurant. Yum yum!!

Also, the day before sukkot MATT maybe aliyah from the US! Which also means SHOKO made aliyah! So now our apartment is full and Matt and Shoko are finally home! It's been great having them. The only problem is that we don't have grass in our backyard yet and so Shoko is rolling in dead grass and dirt and then bringing it into the house. But we're going to have the grass installed next week, so I think that will help a lot with keeping the apartment clean. So I'm looking forward to that. =)

As for my vacation, at the end of the week, Roi, me and our two friends are going to the north to hike and camp for two days! We are also going to ride horses =)  I am really excited!! It's going to be an awesome time! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ready for Sukkot!

Our succah is up and I have my four species!! I'm all ready for Sukkot!! 

PEP Tiyul - Rabbinic Period

The Pardes Educators Program had their final tiyul to the north of Israel as part of their History Seminar. We went to Gamla, Katzrin, Capernaum and Zippori. This was by far the most interesting trip (to me). Besides the education part of the trip, we also had a lot of time to bond with our colleagues and have some fun. 
We are in Capernaum in the synagogue that once stood there. It was so interesting to hear about the influence of Christianity on Judaism and how Judaism responded to these outside pressures. 

This is at Zippori. I am with Artzi, the Israeli National Parks mascot! I love him!! =) 

This is at the theater in Zippori. Zippori was a Jewish city in a Roman dominated time period. There are mosaics in Zippori that are clearly "idolatry," so it's interesting to think about how the Mishna came from Zippori (books and lists of rules about Jewish law and keeping Jewish law) when it is clear that people weren't keeping the law how we would expect today. 

Me and Hannah and Ilan! Great view!! 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

PEP Tiyul - Second Temple Period

Today we had a tour of the Second Temple Period in Jerusalem. It was really great, but SO much info in a short amount of time! We went to the South Wall Excavations, The Israel Museum, and the underground mansions where the Kohenim (priests) probably lived. Ian Stern was our guide, and he is absolutely fabulous! 
This bus has nothing to do with our trip, it's just a cool thing that people will only ever see in Israel! The bus is wishing you a good inscription into the Book of Life חתימה טובה! Thank you, bus!! 

This is one of my favorite places in Israel!! I love this "LOVE" statue! This is our PEP cohort at the end of the tiyul!! We are a terrific group!!!! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Peer teaching

Part of the Educators Program is to do sessions of peer teaching. This means that each person has a session/lesson that they teach to the other educators.

Today was my first experience in being in a session. (We actually had two today because the teacher was sick last week, so she also did her lesson this week.) And wow! I learned so much from the sessions. First, as a student, I really learned the material. The first lesson was about Rosh HaShana, blowing the shofar, and when and why we do it. The teacher had us go to four different stations and listen to different audio bytes that represented the four different times/meanings of blowing the shofar. His pedagogy was really outstanding and he had a great presence in the classroom.

The second lesson was about Daniel and comparing the first two chapters of the book to Joseph's story when he tells Pharaoh the meaning of his dreams. She had a good graphic organizer and really taught me about Daniel, a character that I only knew existed because a lot of people are named "Daniel."

Both teachers were so different and yet so good. They both had such a strong teacher voice. They were patient and intuitive. I loved it! I am excited to get back into the classroom!   

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ready for Shabbat!!

Tonight I'm hosting my first Shabbat dinner all by myself!! And the table is ready!! I must say, I think it looks so beautiful! And I have to say that I am really proud of myself! A few of my closest friends from school are coming over after Shabbat services. I have chicken with potato and sweet potato, and everyone else is bringing a salad, side dish, or dessert! 
I hope everyone has a wonderful and peaceful Shabbat! Shabbat shalom!! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

3rd educators field trip

Yesterday we had our second PEP field trip. This one focused on the First Temple Period. The tour guide was great! I was really paying attention the whole time. We first stopped at The City of David and he gave of a lot of wonderful information. We ate lunch in the Jewish Quarter (everyone enjoyed the Reese's peanut butter cookies I had made) and then we went to see a map/movie of the period. It was a great visual because I really finally understood the difference between the walls that are standing now and the walls that were from the First Temple Period.  All the other times I have been on tours things were smashed into the same tour and all the info was jumbled into my head. So I really appreciated a tour of just this time period. 
We also went to the "traditional" stop were David is buried. This is the statue outside the tomb of David playing the harp. (He was definitely not buried there.) 

This is our WONDERFUL educators group!!! Future Jewish educators!!! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A different view of fasting

As most Jews know, the High Holidays are quickly approaching, and with that is Yom Kippur, a 24 hour fast day with no food or water (or coffee). And for me, with it comes dread. I just don't like it, I get a headache, it's uncomfortable, etc. Technically we're not suppose to wear make up or deodorant or perfume either (although I have never taken part in that part before. Also, no brushing your teeth, no sex, and no medicines (unless it'll jeopardize your health, of course.)

But after my Halakha class (Jewish law), I really have a different perspective.  It is something that unites the Jewish people, and I was shocked to learn that it is a POSITIVE commandment, not a restrictive law. We should want to fast because we want to be afflicted to repent correctly to G-d.

I found all the rules for fasting to be really over the top. Like if someone is sick and trying to fast, they can drink one cheek full of liquid. Or eat one date-sized bite every 6-9 minutes so they may sustain their health, but still fast. There are many laws to fasting.  But then I realized that people WANT to fast, and these laws are actually in place to help people fast. (Help people fast?? Really?? If my doctor said I couldn't fast, I would be thrilled!) But observant Jews see it as a mitzvah to afflict oneself for G-d.  So although I am still not looking forward to Yom Kippur and my lack of food (although I think I will still be using deodorant) I am going to try to see it was a positive act and mitzvah instead of an act of deep dread.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunset sing-a-long

On Thursday at the Shabbaton we took a walk to see a great view and the sunset. As we were waiting the sun some of my classmates starting singing this beautiful can see and listening to it here...

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

Over the past weekend, my school had a "Shabbaton" which means a rest. The actual explanation is like a weekend retreat.  The whole weekend was very beautiful with a lot of bonding and relaxing. I got to play some basketball on Shabbat with some of my classmates too!

One of the highlights was during free time on Friday before Shabbat, my two friends and I went to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.  The zoo was terrific! It wasn't that they had animals that I hadn't seen before, but all the animals were so active! The bears were swimming and eating branches, the giraffes and zebras were walking around their pond and having a drink, the deer were making many attempts at being fruitful, and the elephant was helping the worker move his heavy bucket around. We were there close to closing time, so maybe they get fed right after the zoo closes. I really don't know, but this was by far one of the best zoo experiences of my life!! As you can tell, I am highly recommending Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo as a spot on your next Israel adventure!

Kalie and Jordan enjoying the zoo!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I know that eating should be a simple thing, but it's hard to eat well when someone is so busy. I don't feel like I had time to cook this week because I was on a weekend retreat with my school.  Today my lunch was carrots, a lox and cheese sandwich and an orange. Actually is doesn't sound as weird now, but I had to really give creative yesterday to figure out what food I could take to school today. For dinner I ate cheerios. So I really knew I had to cook tonight!

Anyway, I ended up making a lot of PASTA and I made my own sauce! It's really delicious!!

In the process....

Now I will have lunch for the month! I just hope I don't get sick of it before I finish it all! =) 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Erev Seder

Erev seders are not what some one might think a seder would be, and erev means night. So at first I thought it meant that we would be having seders once a week at night to learn how to set up and lead our own seders. Well, I was sadly surprised to learn that this is not the case. It is an extra two hours a week, on Monday nights from 7-9 that we're suppose to come to school and study even more. Yes, I'm sure you would be thrilled about this too, but in all seriousness, considering how many nerds and people who love what they're studying, it's not a bad idea. Except, for the time. I despise being out of my house at night on a school night. I want to be at home, showers, relaxed, and in bed at 10. I know I sound crazy that I want to go to bed at 10, but I get up every morning at 6 so I can go to the gym before my full day of classes starts at 8:30.  It's the one time of the day that is really just for me, and I really like to prioritize it.

Anyway, being the good student and law-abiding citizen I am, I went. I had two great partners to study with, our teacher gave a great speech about how there should be no excuses in the way of studying Torah, (it was a great speech) I was ready to study!!! But really, I wasn't. I was exhausted, my partners and I weren't very efficient, we couldn't think of references that we wanted to talk about. We were distracted.  We all had tea or coffee to try to stay focused, and my friend had an open cup which was making me so nervous and I kept telling him to move it away from my brand new books...(I told him about 15 times, I'm not exaggerating. Then.......a teacher came over and asked us how we were doing...and DISASTER!!! He knocked over his tea all over my brand new Tanakh! I was really upset. Not really because of the tea, although it was sad. But because I really didn't listen to myself. I knew I shouldn't have gone, even if it was "required" I was so tired, I had a lot of other homework I needed to get done, I didn't have any food at home to eat (I needed to go to the store), my apartment really needs to be cleaned, I have to do laundry, etc. The amount of anxiety that those two hours caused me was not worth what I was going to learn in those two hours, (which proved to be not too much) except that I have to take care of myself. No one was going to tell me not to go, so now, my tea stain on my Tanakh is going to remind me that I have to be my own advocate. As much as I love studying what I am studying and love doing what I'm doing, I have to put myself first and I have to be physically and mentally healthy. So if that means no more night seder, then no more night seder... 

PEP Tiyul

Today we had our first Educators Program tiyul.  The good thing was that I had never been to any of the places where we went before. The bad news was, I was tired, and the guide was very informative and nice, but not so funny and I had a hard time paying attention.

We first went to Mizpe Jericho, which is a look out point to see Jericho. We talked about the first few chapters of Joshua and his conquest into the land of Israel. That part was interesting because I had just read the chapters we were talking about. 

This is a Jordanian soldier just across the tiny stream that is the Jordan River. Many Christians come here because they thing this is where Jesus was baptized, but we were there to see the Jordan River and how Joshua and his troops may have crossed! 

This is a sad story. The Jordanians were using these monasteries next to the Jordan River as a fort to enter into Israel and commit acts of war, so the Israelis blew up the churches so they couldn't hide in them. I'm sure at one time these were beautiful places, now this is all that is left. =( 

This a mosaic from the floor of a synagogue in Gaza.   

So is this. It's King David, and it's really awesome because now a days Jews wouldn't have a picture or image of anyone, so it's really interesting to note that it was a later interpretation because 2000 years ago, it seemed okay. =)